This article is part six of our season review. Part one discussed Kevin Payton. Part two looked at Travis Busch. Part three covered Jamal Abu-Shamala. Part four waxed poetic about Jonathan Williams. In part six we handed out a report card to Paul Carter.
In the end, Devron was the matter with Devron, or should I say, Tubby Smith’s fear that Devron’s positive and negative potential, reduced him to a very limited role in his first season with the Gophers.
He was overhyped as the Junior College National player of the year, but under skilled in the area that would actually allow him some playing time, defense. A street-balling, take over the offense, who needs defense, any shot that can be taken is worth taking player, he never claimed to be anything else. Many thought he would be, though defense and discipline are never learned in a pro-am league the summer between junior college and big time college basketball.
On another team under a different, he would have at least seen more minutes, would have averaged at least ten more points and ten more shots per game, and at the very least would have been reminiscent of his former, unleashed, unburdened by defense self.
Would his team have been better though? Would his 20 points per game have been matched or exceeded by the player he was “guarding?” Tubby Smith wasn’t willing to find out. The potential for defensive disaster outweighed Bostick’s well documented offensive prowess. It wasn’t so much that his defensive was bad, it was that it was so potentially bad that he rarely had the opportunity to make a mistake.
To play for Tubby, defense, or something that can be construed as defense, is a must.
On Offense: Bostick was one of only two Gophers that could be classified as a pure scorer. This has both positive and negatives. The positive being that in almost any situation in the half court, from just about anywhere on the court, Bostick thought he could score. The downside of this is that that in almost any situation in the half court, from just about anywhere on the court, Bostick thought he could score. When he was on the court, he took 25% of the team’s shots. Only Lawrence Westbrook was more of a gun-slinger, taking nearly 30% of the shots while in the game. The prolific volume of shooting resulted in the second worst offensive performance (of players who actually contributed to the team).
Chalk it up to limited minutes, averaging 11 minutes per game and several times not playing more than 5 minutes. Chalk it up to the new system, far from the freewheeling he experienced in college. Chalk it up to the best defensive conference in the country. Fore these reasons and more, Bostick rarely displayed the explosive scoring that many hoped for. Grade: D, with cautious optimism that he can rediscover his offensive swagger.
On Defense: Bostick’s defense, or Tubby Smith’s fear of his defense, was so bad that he rarely had the chance to make more than one mistake. After a blown assignment, or lack of hustle, he was taken out of the game permanently. There was no chance to learn by doing, or learn from his mistakes in game situation, and subsequently little improvement as the season wore on. We may never know just how bad his defense was, measuring the absence of something is never as easy as measuring the presence of something. What was obvious is that his lack of defense led to the lack of Bostick on the court, and that is damning evidence enough. Grade: D –, it would be an F is he had a chance to show how bad he can be.
On the boards: In Minnesota’s rebound by committee scheme, the guards need to carry their weight, and Bostick did just that. He led all Gopher guards in capturing 12% of defensive rebounds and just over 3% of offensive rebounds while on the floor. Grade: B, for a guard at least.
The intangibles: Well at least he stuck around. Rumors were afloat towards the end of the season that Bostick was threatening to transfer. He obviously hasn’t. It was no doubt a very frustrating season. Bostick clearly bought into his own hype a bit and was expecting bring his considerable junior college success to the next level. For all the frustration though, he didn’t take it out on teammates or the coaching staff and seemed to have a generally positive demeanor on the bench. Most encouragingly, Bostick is holding himself accountable for his poor play last season, and is demonstrating a clear understanding of what needs to improve. Grade: B.
The Highest of Highs: He’ll always have Wisconsin. Bostick took it to his home-state team in one of the toughest venues in the country, scoring all 11 of his points in the second half and overtime. Gopher fans will long remember his dunk that sent his family members running down the aisles of the Kohl Center.
The Lowest of Lows: Take your pick. I’d go with his whopping one minute of action at Indiana.
Homework: Defense. He has offensive skills if he gets time to use them, but that won’t happen until Tubby Smith is confident that he will score more points than he allows.